Monday, July 21, 2014

Blog Tour: The Dream Keeper Chronlicles Audiobooks

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WIN some fantastic prizes!

We are thrilled to announce that The Dreamstone, book two in The Dream Keeper Chronicles is now available in audiobook. If have never had the opportunity to listen to an audiobook before, now is your time! An audiobook is a wonderful way to enjoy a book. It brings a level of richness and art to the book you can't get with just words alone.

Dorothy called it Oz, Alice Called it Wonderland, but Nightmares call it HOME.

There is a world inside our own, 
but we can’t see it when we are 
awake—only when we sleep. 
It is then we find ourselves in Dreams.  

Synopsis for book 1: The Dream Keeper

When an evil shifter takes over the gateway to the realm of Dreams, it falls to 14-year-olds Parker and Kaelyn to stop him. Their only hope lies with Gladamyr, the Dream Keeper, but can they trust a Nightmare to save their world?

Synopsis for book 2: The Dreamstone

When Parker’s mom is dreamnapped by the wicked Mab, it is up to him and Kaelyn to save her. When they return to Dreams, they discover Mab isn’t their only problem. Gladamyr has lost his powers and the only way to get them back is to become what he fears the most—a nightmare.

Check out what people are saying 
about The Dream Keeper Chronicles!

"A fun, fantastic ride through both Dream and Nightmare. Brooks has written a book that can be enjoyed by young and old alike. Bravo!" ~Michaelbrent Collings, bestselling author of The Billy Saga

“A wild stallion of a story: fast, thrilling, and unpredictable. If this one isn’t a kid-pleaser, I don’t know what is.” ~Michelle Isenhoff, author of the Taylor Davis Series 

"I listened to The Dream Keeper on audiobook and absolutely loved it! Anthony Bianco did an outstanding job of bringing each character to life." ~L.R.W Lee, author of The Andy Smithson Series


"My heart hammered and I couldn't tear my eyes away from the page. I felt every emotion the characters did, I laughed, I cried, I felt fear while reading this book." ~Amazon reviewer

"If you like the Percy Jackson, Fablehaven, or the Harry Potter series, you'll love this!" ~Amazon reviewer


Check out this interview 
with the narrator, Anthony Bianco!



What have you enjoyed most about narrating The Dream Keeper Chronicles?

Bringing the mythology that Mikey has created to life. There is a sense of innocence, wonder, and possibility on the world of Awake and Dreams. Our dreams are one of the nearest things we still have to magic. And discovering the story has helped remind me to continue to look for the magic in the world around me.

How did you go about finding a distinct voice for each character?

Many times Mikey provided some kind of description of the character that would inform the choices I would make. Age, gender, body size/ shape. I imagine how the voices sound when I am reading and do my best to apply those changes when I get in the booth. I would like to think that all of the choices that I made were informed by the text. I did my best to fully imagine what Mikey created and trust that when he is satisfied with the result I have done my job. 

You work as a professional actor; do you find your profession helps you in narrating books?

I find it incredibly helpful. The fact that I am not in front of an audience doesn't make a lot of a difference to me. The act of storytelling is the same no matter what the medium. Many of the skills needed: articulation, breath support, vocal flexibility, emotion (to highlight a few) all come into play when recording. When you are in the booth you have to be hyper aware of every movement and sound. Even though nobody can see what you look like, any extraneous movements can cause sounds which can be picked up by the mic. It is essential to have the physical and vocal awareness to keep those sounds to a minimum. At the same time you can't allow that to keep you from bing expressive and energized when telling the story. It can be a tricky balance sometimes. But the years of training help to balance those factors.

Is there a character in the book you related to the most and why?

I think Gladamyr was the easiest to relate to, even though he is a Dream keeper. I love the tortured heroes. Plus, Gladamyr's powers are the coolest! Many of my favorite fantasy characters have been Shape-shifters or have had an ability similar to Gladamyr. It probably appeals to the actor in me, being able to shift and morph would be like the ultimate costume change.

If you were to dream up a nightmare what would it be?

Absolutely terrifying. Probably something similar to Minion, a monster made from a swarm of spiders. When I have nightmares they are the worst. I am usually being chased by a dark formless, shifting shadow (not unlike Gladamyr now that I think about it). There are always lost of teeth and it is fast; constantly changing throughout the dream. The worst nightmares know when to change and get worse when you think it can get any worse. 

How do you manage to smoothly accentuate the “voice” of the different characters? 

Breath, breath, breath. You can't transition from voice to voice without the proper breath support to fuel the instrument. If it sounds smooth it is a combination of quality editing and quality vocal control by the narrator.

How did you become a book narrator? Did anything specific prompt you to undertake this career?

A friend encouraged me to pursue it. He made the transition from actor to narrator full time and thought I would also be good at it. So, he gave me the initial push. I haven't been able to make that transition fully, though. I am still working and audition for gigs in bother careers. As well as working at a coffee shop and doing odd work as a ranch hand and landscaper to make ends meet. I am still at the begging of my narrating career but what has prompted me to continue to pursue it is the flexibility to create my own hours, work from home, and the complete artistic control of the storytelling.


Narrator Bio:

Anthony Bianco is a professional actor living and working in Denver, Colorado. He is a native Oregonian and has been acting and storytelling for the past eighteen years. He received a BFA in Acting with a minor in Shakespeare Studies at Southern Oregon University in Ashland, Oregon. Anthony then went on to receive is MFA in Acting from University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Anthony moved to Denver five years ago and has worked for three seasons with the Denver Center Theatre Company, one season at Colorado Shakespeare Festival and most recently appeared as Jay Gatsby in The Great Gatsby at the Arvada Center for the Arts and Humanities.

Author Bio:



Mikey Brooks is a small child masquerading as an adult. On occasion you’ll catch him dancing the funky chicken, singing like a banshee, and pretending to have never grown up. He is the author/illustrator of the best-selling middle-grade series The Dream Keeper Chronicles, The Stone of Valhalla, and The Gates of Atlantis: Battle for Acropolis. His picture books include the best-selling ABC Adventures: Magical Creatures and Bean’s Dragons. His art can be seen in many forms from picture books to full room murals. He loves to daydream with his three daughters and explore the worlds that only the imagination of children can create. Mikey has a BS degree in English from Utah State University and works full-time as a freelance illustrator, cover designer, and author. As a member of the Emblazoners, he is one of many authors devoted to ‘writing stories on the hearts of children’ (www.emblazoners.com). You can find more about him and his books at: www.insidemikeysworld.com
 
Check out the books!

The Dream Keeper

The Dreamstone


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Tour List and Dates:
Monday – July 21st

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Book Feature: Elias of Elderberry


Don't forget to check out the GIVEAWAY
at the bottom of this post!!

Synopsis:
Elias Rey, a fifteen year old student at Penquis Valley High School, is skinny, has a chipped tooth, and a bad case of acne. His favorite pastime is drawing dragons, and his room is plastered with his renditions. Tested out as a genius, he should be in college instead of high school, but he chooses to be with the only family he has ever known, his foster sister Lizzie, and his best friend Jaron.
Life is good, except for one thing - Brute, the meanest student at PVHS. Elias considers moving to be rid of Brute's constant bullying, until one fated day, when a strange boy pushes a leather pouch into his hands, and then mysteriously disappears, leaving Elias to wonder who he is.
Shortly thereafter, Elias discovers that the pouch contains Ilesar, an ancient papyrus that can give him anything his heart desires. He isn't going to be pushed around. Ever. Again. At least, not by the school bully.

Praise for this book:
"I love this story! Elias of Elderberry is a cross between Harry Potter, Peter Pan, and Alice in Wonderland, with a hint of Lord of the Rings." -Sarah Beggs, author

"Elias of Elderberry is imaginative and entertaining, but also thought provoking. It was fun learning about the worlds Theresa Sneed creates. Her evil is pure evil... and her good is amazing." Kari Pike, author, editor

Author Bio:
Growing up in the woodlands of Maine and spending most of her time climbing trees and looking for snakes under rocks, author Theresa Sneed has a wealth of childhood experiences from which she creates her magical stories. As a mother of six, a grandmother of five, and an elementary school teacher, she enjoys weaving moments of wonder and reflection.

Theresa graduated cum laude with a BA in education and has written award-winning poetry and stories. Her No Angel series has received excellent reviews from her readers as well as claiming two Whitney finalists’ spots. Theresa enjoys reading and writing fantasy, romance, and suspense.
To learn more about Theresa, visit www.theresasneed.com. She loves hearing from her readers and may be contacted through her website.

Other books by Theresa Sneed
Her No Angel Series (not completed yet, there will be at least three or four more books in this series)

Links:

Excerpt #1
He snatched the pouch up. The drama department was at the end of the hallway. Elias grinned. Dang! That boy is good! He really had me going there! “Hey, Mr. Arnold!” Elias stuck his head into the office.
“Yes, Elias?” Mr. Arnold’s beady eyes peered at him over half moon spectacles that looked as if they’d slip off his nose.
“Yeah well, just wanted to congratulate you on whatever it is you guys are working on. Whoever that boy was with the pouch—” He held it up. “Well, he’s pretty convincing—good job!”
Mr. Arnold looked at him like he didn’t know what he was talking about.
“You know—Ooooo-OOoo.” Elias made a ghostly sound and wiggled his fingers in the air. “He looked pretty freaky, sir.”
Mr. Arnold leaned back and stroked his goatee.   “I have no idea what you’re talking about, Elias—none whatsoever.”
“Huh.” Elias turned the pouch over in his hands. “Yeah, well, okay.” He thanked him and went back into the hallway.
Who was that boy? If he hadn’t been part of any theater production at the school—what kind of performance was he in? He nodded as he remembered the white cord tugging at the boy—great special effects. Destroy them, the boy had said. Elias shrugged. His gaze fell to the pouch. What was in it? He started to open it, but thought better and glanced around for a more secluded place to explore its contents.
What better place than the boy’s bathroom? He slipped through the door and then into an empty stall. He studied the brown leather bag holding it closer to his face. The gold band that ran diagonally up its sides was made to look like a snake—its diamond-shaped head brandishing two tiny, red jewels. Elias brushed his fingers over the thin band and a wisp of smoke rose from it. He coughed and swept his hand through the gray mist—must have been dust.
All of a sudden, the bathroom door banged open and Brute’s voice broke the silence. “Hey zit-face! I know you’re in here!”
Oh crap. Of all the places for Brute to find him—defenseless—with no one to stop the Brute from beating him senseless, or even to identify Elias’ lifeless body later. He rolled his eyes. Okay, that was a bit melodramatic. He’d been hanging around his foster sister, Lizzie too long. Drama was her thing—not his. 
The stall doors slammed against their hinges one by one—closer and closer. He let out a groan, as he saw Brute’s size twelve shoes in front of the stall next to his. He swallowed hard and breathed out slow. “I wish I was home.” A warm buzz came from the pouch, and he glanced down as it came to life—casting an eerie glow against the stall door. Then all at once, a steely flash of red light cruelly stung his skin, deep into his sinewy flesh, as a powerful force twisted him through an opening—a thin slit in the air. 

Excerpt #2
He pressed his head back against the pillow. So, this was what crazy felt like. He grimaced, knowing that he was not crazy, but not having any good explanation for what was happening to him. Suddenly, something nuzzled the crick of his neck.
“Cut it out, Ilzar.” It let out a tiny bawl, almost like a cough, and Elias turned his head expecting to see Ilzar. He jumped backward, nearly falling off the bed. “YIKES!”
A miniature, baby dragon the color of the sky sat on his pillow teetering back and forth as if it hadn’t quite got its bearings.
“Oh, my gosh, oh, my gosh, oh, my gosh!” Elias leaped from his bed and stared at the small, sapphire colored dragon. It coughed again and a tiny blue cloud of smoke came from its throat.
Elias’ mouth dropped open. Was this real? The dragon hopped off the pillow and came to the edge of the bed. It looked up at him with doleful eyes, coughed, than bawled again—like it was hungry.
            Elias’ eyes widened. What did dragons eat—other than villages of people?

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Blog Tour Line-up:

July 7th
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